WHAT TO LOOK FOR
> Basically good, strong Honda fare, ’Blade bodywork suffers from overtightened fasteners; the central fastener just above the headlight and the tail-unit bolts will all crack the bodywork if over-tightened – which is easy to do. Certain items for the ’92 and ’93 ’Blades are becoming scarce now: screens, undertrays and top fairing panels in certain colours are rare. Take care buying from the US; they had different colours; and make sure the seller is sure about which model the part comes from. Also, check you can’t ‘shake hands’ with the indicators; a sign the bike has been over, which pushes the indicator stalk through the panel behind it.
> The first RR-N and RR-P ’Blades had direct gear levers and the ’boxes felt stiff. The RR-R to RR-X had a linkage and a modified ’box, and are much smoother. In either case, second gear has been known to take a battering from clumsy shifts, so run the bike up through the ’box under load to check for jumping or skipping out of gear. Walk away if found to be the case.
> Early ’Blades give cush and rear wheel bearings a harder time than other bikes; worth checking for play in all of them. Might as well fit new cush-drive rubbers while you’re in there too.
> Choice for 16in front wheel is not as bad as you’d think; most of the big companies still make them. Bridgestone S20 is a popular choice, or Dunlop Qualifier II or Metzeler Sportec M3s. The 17in front wheel conversion is popular: NC30 fronts keep the cable speedo drive for ’92/’93 ’Blades; VFR750 or CBR600F wheels seem to be the least trouble for ’94 to ’97 bikes.
> Basically sound, little will go wrong with a fettled Fireblade engine. A noisy top-end rattle on the right side of the engine that disappears as the engine revs up probably means a spent camchain tensioner; easily replaced. The ’Blade clutch is mostly strong, and there are no other specific concerns.
> Generally solid (in a good way). Fork seals aren’t prone to failure, but the rear shock can get tired after 30,000 miles and occasionally the damper rod seal blows, leaving a ring of oil around the rubber bump stop. Plenty of well-used replacements on ebay, or try a used aftermarket shock: they’re rebuildable. The original Showa is technically rebuildable, but it’s a false economy as it’s impossible to find replacement seals of sufficient quality and it’ll only blow again.
> Reg/rec failure is a common problem on 1990s VFR750S and Blackbirds as well as ’Blades. It’s a random problem, unrelated to mileage or age, but easily remedied before it happens by fitting an aftermarket item with extensive and generous cooling fins.
> Plenty of ’Blades came in as parallel imports in the mid-’90s; kph clocks and right-dipped headlights are the differences. There were stories of variances in power output, but only French and Swiss bikes differed from UK bikes in this and – to our knowledge – none of these were imported.
• David Silver Spares davidsilverspares co.uk, 01728 833020. Parts and info • CMS cmsnl.com. Dutch website with thousands of parts for all Honda models • fireblades.org one of many websites dedicated to the Fireblade (see also Honda Fireblade Owners Club on Facebook) • SMD Tyres motorcycle-tyres.co.uk, 01942 261111. Mail order tyres • Maxton maxtonsuspension.co.uk, 01928 740531. Suspension genuises
We’re still frothing over foam
If it’s shot it’s better to replace than repair
Somehow Honda still found space for this
Faux usd forks are actually a robust rwu type
Original top cowls are becoming rare